The high level of competition in the globalized business environment forces companies to innovate to remain competitive. Previous literature often cites information technology (IT) and supply chain collaboration as direct contributors to product innovation and IT as a direct enabler of supply chain collaboration. This suggests that IT could have an indirect effect on product innovation through supply chain collaboration, although this relationship has not been addressed yet. This paper aims to analyze empirically the direct impacts of IT and supply chain collaboration on incremental and radical product innovation and the indirect effect of IT on both types of product innovation through supply chain collaboration by using data collected from a sample of 200 manufacturing firms.
Structural equation modeling was used to check the research hypotheses with a sample of 200 manufacturing companies.
The results show supply chain collaboration has a positive effect on technological innovation, showing that the collaboration with external agents foster both incremental and radical innovations. Furthermore, results show that IT directly enhances both types of product innovation (incremental and radical) indirectly through supply chain collaboration.
This article supports the pursuit of open innovation that suggests the need to acquire external knowledge to be able to develop innovation projects. The use of tools that facilitate this transmission of knowledge becomes indispensable in environments in which companies must be involved in supply chains in which different external agents intervene and in which collaboration can promote the creation of synergies and superior competitive advantages.
Innovation requires more and more the use of knowledge management practices that capture external information to be used in the creation of new products. In this case, collaboration within a supply chain facilitates incremental and radical innovations. However, to strengthen this transfer of information and the adoption of behaviors that stimulate innovation, the company must use ITs.
This paper focus on the indirect effect of IT on product innovation through the creation of the collaborations with external agents. In spite of the importance of this relation, it has been poorly studied by previous literature. The paper’s greatest interest lies in the fact that ITs not only facilitate the transmission of knowledge but also facilitate other types of behavior among supply chain agents that invite collaboration and generate innovations.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the funding received from the Spanish Ministry for Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (Research Project ECO2017-88987-R) and CajaMurcia Foundation. The authors also acknowledge the very constructive and detailed comments and feedback provided by the internal and anonymous reviewers.
Jimenez-Jimenez, D., Martínez-Costa, M. and Sanchez Rodriguez, C. (2019), "The mediating role of supply chain collaboration on the relationship between information technology and innovation", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 548-567. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-01-2018-0019Download as .RIS
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